SAVING SOULS

Price of a Soul

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          It lasted, not for days or months, but for thirty-five years, with different phases, and under different forms, but almost without intermission. …One night when he was more than usually disquieted, he said, ‘My God, I willingly make to Thee the sacrifice of some hours’ sleep for the conversion of sinners.’ Immediately the infernal troupe disappeared, and all was silent.

          Vianney’s brother-priests were at first little disposed to believe in the reality of these diabolical manifestations; they sought to account for them by natural and physiological causes. “If the Cure d’Ars lived like other men,” said they “if he took a proper quantity of sleep and nourishment his imagination would be calmed, his brain would no longer be peopled with spectres, and all this infernal phantasmagoria would vanish.”

          One night, however, they assumed a more serious tone, the discussion became more animated, …more bitter and reproachful. It was agreed that all this infernal mystification had no other origin than delirium and hallucination, and the poor Cure was consequently treated as a visionary and an enthusiast.

          To all this he answered not a word, but retired to his room, apparently insensible to everything but the joy of being persecuted. Soon afterwards his joking companions separated for the night, …

          But behold! at midnight all the inmates of the house are awakened by a horrible fracas. The cure is shaken from the very foundation, the doors bang, the windows clatter, the walls totter, sinister cracks are heard, as if the whole building were just about to fall to the ground.

          In a moment everyone was on his feet. They recollected that the Cure d’Ars had said, “You must not be surprised if you should hear a noise this night.” They rushed simultaneously into his room, where they found him in tranquil repose. “Get up,” cried they, “the house is falling to the ground.” “Oh, I know what it is,” replied he, smiling; “return to your rest, there is nothing to fear.” They were reassured, and the clamour ceased.

          An hour later in the night a faint bell was heard. The Abbe Vianney rose up and went to the door, where he found a man who had travelled several leagues to confess to him. This, we are told, was no unusual occurrence; it often happened that after the most cruel nights the Cure found at his door in the morning pilgrims who had made long journeys in order to be confessed by him.

          Indeed, when the persecution to which he was subjected was more than usually violent, he received it as a sign of some signal mercy, or some special consolation about to be granted to him.   ~   St. John Vianney, catholicharboroffaithandmorals.com

 

          This morning, done with the work week and all manner of hurt and attacks, I went determined to greet the first breath of the weekend and to sink my heart into the sweetness of petals, trees and winds. Glancing out of my window, I saw the orange~red sun begin its ascent from a band of grey rainclouds that sought to hold it back. I had never seen the sun rise so quickly. I hurried out, catching its the last seconds, before the thick clouds hid the vermillion disc from view.

          I remained a long time in my wee garden, running my gaze over the pink whites of roses. The breezes I wanted barely stirred, the birds their morning song scarce and muted by the coming rains. But my heart was at peace. So deep was my relief to at last be away from my workplace and the cruelty of some people that I could forgive anything.

          I carried this peace and quiet within to the rest of the day. I asked for nothing. The peace was enough for me.

          Into this peace, came the Cure d’Ars, St. John Vianney, the patron saint of priests. 

          Two weeks before, just before sunset Mass, I saw that it was the feast day of St. John Vianney. The Cure d’Ars had never had a special place in my heart. But for some reason, the moment I saw his name and his feast day, 4th August, I felt a quick pool of warmth settle over my heart. In an instant, I felt a sudden kinship with the Cure d’Ars.

          Yet, in a flash, he was gone. In the two bitter weeks that followed where work woes took on a dark shadow, this saint never came back. I forgot about him, until today, a day begun in the pink of fresh sunrise and thanksgiving.

          And he brought me understanding. He parted the mists slightly over my 40 day journey. He showed me the real architect of my pain. He gave me to understand some of the reasons for this new trial. He showed me how he had walked a far worse road, in a shadow far more feral than what I was facing.

          Most searing of all, he told me he had been afraid. That he had tasted and suffered a fear so deep and great in every attack. But each time fear touched him, he had turned swiftly to God. Not once did he rely on himself. His fear never held him back from God.

          His fear made him seek God over and over and over. He accepted every morsel of strength heaven gave him. When it finished, he simply returned for more.

          It was then that I understood it was alright to be afraid. To be sick to the stomach in fear of what the bullies at work could do to me and were doing. To have a knife through my heart over the same darkness my little daughter was facing. To feel this way didn’t mean that I was weak and far from God. Fear was not weakness. Unless it took me away from God. Weakness was relying on myself to get through the 40 and anything else beyond it.

          As I sealed this lesson into the walls of my heart, my spirit turned back to the other light the Cure d’Ars had tenderly brought me. Of the redemptive value of this suffering.

          It was the price of a soul.

         

 

            

 

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LIGHT THE LAMPS

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          As the sun dips to his rest, and the purple night gently ribbons across the skies, our hands reach out for light. However welcome the night in its cool flower-scented breezes and hushed life sounds, we seek the light to see and live.

          And so it is with the soul. Even in the wilful pursuit of all that chokes and stamps out the breath of God within us, the soul in loneliness seeks the Light. In every straying heart, the soul stands in diametrical solitariness, longing for that which gives True Life.

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          So as the indigo mists of night drop their veils, heed the urgent whisper of the Spirit:       Go forth and light the lamps.

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          Seek the barren streets, seek them in compassion. The paths where lonely snow drifts. In love reach out to those whose heads are bowed against the snow, intent on their cold aloneness because they think no one cares enough any more. Let love warm and melt the snow that they wear around their hearts, kindle unseen embers long dormant.

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          Have courage. In patience, search for homes locked from within. Shutters clamped tight against the light, soil tilled no more, gardens listing to neglect. Walls adorned by sadness, loss of hope. Seek these homes of a thousand gray memories, dwelling place of souls fettered by the past and present. Seek them and let the Light stream in, for it’s only by His Light that the soul heals.

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          Seek the faces on the streets of hardness, despair, fear and shame. Seek in earnest the faces of those who earn their living by the barrel of the gun of violence and drugs. Search out the souls who offer spousal comfort to those not theirs. In mercy and love, part the thorns that hide and protect those who choose to sever the bond between a mother and her baby in the womb. Go forth and light the lamps on those darkened streets of a thousand shadows. Give hope where hope has gone. Share love where hate has reigned too long. Light the lamp so the soul may be healed.

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          Light the lamps in souls who choose their end before His time. Those so bereft of hope, who suffer the poverty of relationships true and strong. Those for whom love has fled. Let their grief light your path to them. Illumine the darkness of their agony with Christ, that they see in their sufferings, purpose amalgamated with the Divine Will.

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          Go forth and light the lamps in lands where faith slumbers in peril. In prayer and deed, in a life lived true, guide hearts to the Pearl of the Blue Mantle.

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          Shine the Shepherd’s Beacon in every pilgrim soul, away from the precipice of death, steer each one safe.

BUILD AN ARK

Noah's Ark

Noah’s Ark

13 So God said to Noah, “I am going to put an end to all people, for the earth is filled with violence because of them. I am surely going to destroy both them and the earth. 14 So make yourself an ark…. Everything on earth will perish. 18 But I will establish my covenant with you, and you will enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife and your sons’ wives with you…. two of all living creatures, …21 You are to take every kind of food that is to be eaten and store it away as food for you and for them.” 22 Noah did everything just as God commanded him. ~ Genesis 6:13-22, New International Version (NIV)

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A storm darkens and burgeons on the horizon ahead. A new storm, one whose effects will stain and wound every living soul. A storm of many dimensions. Felt by all, manifested differently, and no escape is there.

Not for those who live in the Light, nor for those who have made darkness their abode.

The grief it will bring will surpass any pain suffered hitherto. It will be a storm that will build its strength on our personal weaknesses, things kept hidden brought to light, forcing us to confront every mist and cloud we have always run away from.

The angels have sounded the Lord’s call. Soul to soul, writing His message on every door, Build an ark for the flood of souls. The call chimes and resounds in every soul ~

The young for whom the sun shines every day, nary a cloud to filter the gold of joy,

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The old and worn, thinking their life’s work over, nothing more but to wait for the summons,

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The carefree never troubled by the groans of mankind.

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Build an ark for the flood of souls, Jesus pleads. And the angels in obedience go forth

To write the call on the widow’s broken heart,

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The happy farmers in dance of joy over bountiful harvests,

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Build an ark,  Build an ark, Build an ark

Come, He calls

both young and old, wounded and healthy.

Write the blogs, sing the songs, paint the pictures.

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Comfort the hurting, wipe the tears of grief.

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Still the tempests, instruct the ignorant,

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Feed the poor, nourishment give to body and soul,

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Look up the friend, the stranger welcome.

The Word of the Lord take to each wound and shadow.

This is the time of Mercy

Build an ark for the flood of souls.